Brussels Griffon

  • Overview

    These monkey-faced little dogs had a moment in the spotlight after one of their own made his film debut in "As Good As It Gets," starring alongside Jack Nicholson. Since then, they have won favor for their particular personalities and unique appearances. The Brussels Griffon is an entertaining little dog with a distinct expression who requires plenty of love and grooming from his owner. They love amusing those around them and are not afraid to draw attention to themselves with their playful antics or their unique coats.

    View Grooming Diagram for brussels griffon
  • Personality

    The Brussels Griffon is full of curiosity and brimming with personality. They aren't afraid to get a little rough-and-tumble, especially outdoors and with other dogs. They love to learn new tricks and explore their surroundings. They can be difficult to housebreak, but they respond well to crate training. These dogs all have individual personalities. Some are extremely outgoing and rambunctious, but others are reserved and occasionally shy, even with those they know. Brussels Griffon also love to boss people around, so they require consistent, firm training.

    Brussels Griffon can be somewhat self-righteous if they are treated harshly or perceive that they've been treated unfairly, they can become barkers and biters. They are not afraid to display their bad habits to get the attention they feel they deserve. These little guys can be moody. They especially hate being neglected by their owners or teased by children.

  • Coat Care

    The Brussels Griffon's coat is part of what gives him his distinctive appearance. The coat comes in two varieties — rough and smooth. Rough coats are hard and wiry and have a tendency to become unruly. Smooth coats are short and glossy and do not require quite as much maintenance. Both types of Brussels Griffon should have longer hair on the head that stands out in a beard. Their bristly, bushy face and pushed-in nose give them an almost human expression. Their coat is generally seen in red, black and tan, black and beige.

Brushing

Like any well-kept gentleman, the Brussels Griffon will need his beard combed regularly with a small metal comb. They should be brushed regularly because if their coat is not maintained, they tend to look disheveled and their hair becomes coarse. They should be brushed with a bristle brush and a metal tooth comb.  Twice a year, they will need to be professionally stripped to remove dead hair and allow the coat to grow in healthily.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but wire-coated dogs can be done with greater frequency, often within a four-to-six week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. The coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Dogs with wire coats generally require regular hair clipping. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of clippers and trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use clippers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Always leave at least a half-inch of fur to protect the dog from the elements. Use a trimmer or a scissors to even out areas around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, as needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Clip with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

Some owners choose to hand strip the dead hair from their wire-coated dogs' coats. Use a stripping knife or a shedding blade to remove dead hair and shape the dog's coat. Pluck loose, dead hairs by hand or with a tweezers.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Wire coated dogs have sensitive ears covered in hair that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. West Highland Terriers and other small terriers with white coats are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.